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The Daily Bucket is a place where we can post and exchange our observations about the natural happenings in our neighborhoods. Birds, bugs, blossoms and more - each notation is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the natural patterns that are unwinding around us.
Seattle. November 20, 2011.

View through the window of Mr bwren's study, 4:28pm.
Squally today in the aftermath of yesterday's storm. Bright sun and blue sky tricked us. Around here we call this a "sucker hole". Three times I started out with Bill-the-Dog for a walk in sunshine. Three times we were forced back; twice before we reached the driveway, once halfway up the block. Thunder. Hail. More driving rain.

We stayed in, Bill-the-Dog pouting on the couch, me sitting in the light of the bay window, sewing and watching the feeders.

The birds came between squalls. Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees flitting in and out to the suet, one at a time. Last winter was the first that the Chestnuts regularly came to the feeder. I see and hear them in the Forest every time I go, but never thought that they'd move into this old suburban neighborhood. It might be that over the last 35 years the trees have grown up without me noticing, providing the shelter that they prefer.

Bushtits arrive on schedule every 20 minutes or so. I hear them before they arrive, tiny chips and whistles from the trees in the back yard. Sometimes I catch sight of them as they move from tree to tree, peripheral motion flashing across the windows before they gather on the suet in masses of a dozen or more, always one or two coming and going, and then the whole flock scattering away for no apparent reason. I suspect that there are two flocks, but have no way of really knowing.

Two Steller's Jays hog the suet as well as they can, chasing off the chickadees and bushtits with bristling crests and harsh cries. They often arrive together, one setting comfortable on the hanging suet cake, the other leaping up again and again from a low branch, too often missing its mark. I wonder if these are siblings, or perhaps a pair.

There are at least three Anna's Hummingbirds that visit the nectar feeder, two males and a female. The males fight over the offered resources, one sipping and the other either scolding from the pear tree or flinging himself down to chase the other away. There are battles, the two of them in a little ball of fury falling down to the ground and then away to the adjacent yards. Sometime they perch, one in the pear tree and the other in the neighbor's cherry tree, yelling at one another. The female feeds in peace, whenever she chooses.

I keep a thistle seed sock, but it isn't very popular right now. Later in the season, when the cold comes, the siskins will come in great flocks and I will have to haul myself down to the local Audubon store every week or so to buy thistle seed. Today I saw one Black-capped Chickadee take one seed. My pocketbook is safe for a while.

Traditionally, the Juncos take whatever falls to the ground, hopping around with their white petticoats flashing. I have to creep up to the window and look down to see them. A few have recently figured out that the good stuff is aboveground. A week ago I spied one clumsily perched sideways on the suet feeder, fluttering wings holding it up as it pecked at the suet. Today one perched on the top of the feeder, secure as it fed.

At dusk one male Flicker stabbed at the suet, alone. A Robin sang its spring song from the cedar trees beyond.

November 20, 2012. Black-capped Chickadees, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Bushtits, Anna's Hummingbirds, Steller's Jays, Juncos and a Flicker fed at the feeders.

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Originally posted to Backyard Science on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 09:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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